The psoas, and why you should care about it

The psoas is a big strong muscle that begins on the front of your lumbar vertebrae, and attatches down on the inside of the femur (after blending with another muscle to become the iliopsoas). It can pull you knee up to your chest, pull your chest down to your knee or flex your torso side to side.

The psoas and iliacus

The psoas is often involved in back and hip pain, but for some reason seems to get neglected. In the modern world where we tend to be seated a lot, the psoas becomes tight and short over time (because when seated it is constantly flexed/short). This can lead to anterior pelvic tilt, where your bum sticks out due to your pelvis pointing downward. It can also change the movement of the LSp joints, leading to irritation or outright pain.

Stretching your psoas is pretty easy – your standard lunge stretch will usually hit the spot. If you need to, you can add some side flexion (away from the side you are stretching) to increase the stretch. If you are a psoas stretching pro, you can try the ‘couch stretch’ where the shin is put up against the couch.

Psoas lunge stretch

Outside of basic stretching, keeping active will provide the best stimulus for a healthy psoas. Get out of the chair and ‘do stuff’ regularly, and he’ll be a happy camper.

Think your psoas is acting up? Come and see us at Inspired Physiotherapy! We have multiple tricks up our sleeve in order to assess and treat psoas / hip related problems. Our physiotherapists Deb and Sara have a mountain of experience in dancing and all the intricacies of the hip that involves.